Uhhhmmm, I don’t know… “Of importance to the courage of leadership is cultivating spiritual and religious humility, which is an attitude of respect and esteem developed when encountering people of other faiths.” (Fr Leo Nkwasibwe Business Courage p 397)
A Christian should never be disrespectful to any other person, regardless of anything; religion, race, sexual preference. But it seems to me that Christians are a little too quick to defer, to willing to back off, to me that’s a little too, well I’ll say it, gutless to Christ. Jesus didn’t back down one bit when confronted by the Jewish leaders, by Pontius Pilate, by anyone who some how called Him out. He directed demons, He took control of the situations He was in. He didn’t concede the field to anyone, now a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that He is God. He created the people He was confronting, He knew more in an instant, than they’d ever know in a lifetime. So that’s a little difficult for me to reconcile how Jesus, who is God, confronts, as compared to me. One way I am looking at it, is that Jesus’s life is the example that I should follow. No question, Jesus was never obnoxious about it, but He was always assertive. This is the way it is, this is the truth and you need to deal with it.
As a Coast Guard Petty Officer, I was trained as a law enforcement officer. A law enforcement officer by the nature of the vocation is going to encounter confrontation. It is incumbent on the officer to handle a situation as safely and expediently as possible, this in the best interests of everyone. This reduces the possibility losing control, injury of any parties, and getting the parties involved to where they need to be.This is analogous to Christian witnessing.
I’m not saying that Jesus wasn’t meek and humble, certainly the incarnation itself was a demonstration of Jesus’ willingness to humble Himself in order to do what was necessary for man. John MacArthur quotes the NASB:
We should always look to serve. But perhaps I see service not as caving in, but as doing what is best for those involved. Certainly I serve Christ by being an assertive witness for Him. Christ died for the sins of the world, it is not God’s will that any should die, but all should be saved. Sorry, the fact of the matter is this, only in Christ are we saved. Same old discussion, I can tell people what they want to hear and not offend, or I can tell them what they need to hear. In an assertive way, no one is hurt, in fact ultimately they are saved from eternal hurt. I have stayed in control and kept the focus on Christ, too often these discussions end in everyone either genuinely considering what was said or being offended, frankly I’m more concerned about offending Jesus, then offending people who are misguided to begin with. Jesus said the Gospel would offend, we can’t help how other people react, we can only be faithful and assertive.
“Assertive”, does not mean loud, obnoxious, pugnacious, it means “this is where it’s at, this is how it is. You can chose to accept it or not, but this is how it’s going to be. If someone is being arrested for cause, they can be offended (they usually are), they can talk all kinds of smack about you, your momma etc, but the fact of the matter is this, they’re under arrest and just as in Christ there will be a judgment. All are going to be judged, I want to be judged faithful to Christ, when others are judged and found to be not in Christ, well… suffice to say, it’s not going to be pleasant for them. A secular judge can send someone to jail, the ultimate Judge will condemn those who have rejected Him, and jail will seem like a luxury resort compared to where they will be condemned.
These aren’t my words, they are Jesus’. I’m not making this stuff, it is the way God the Son promised that it would be. I’m not doing my co-worker, family member, neighbor, other guy I play basketball with, a favor, by patting them on the head and sending them on their way because they were offended. Hopefully not by the way I said it, because those in the world will always use that as an excuse, but as respectfully and in love, wanting what is best for them.
Maybe Father Nkwasibwe has a different definition of esteem, I esteem the fact that we were all made in the imago dei. But I’m sorry I do not “esteem” someone else’s wrong opinion. You can condemn yourself, but I wouldn’t esteem your killing yourself with pills versus hanging. Either are evil and so is spiritual poison, that kills, not just the body but for eternity. I have to be serious and assertive about the Gospel, not antagonistic, because I don’t want anyone hurt, but in a way that conveys that I am very serious, that I have full confidence in what I’m doing and if the other person doesn’t want to end up spiritually damaged they would do well to listen to what I have to say.
People do respond to assertiveness and confidence, they may not comply as if they were under arrest, but they will think about it. We often don’t see the results of our witnessing, we are told that we will be used to plant. Don’t quit because there are no results, we are called to be faithful, when we witness with confidence, assurance and in genuine love, we are being as faithful as we can be.
So, no, don’t start a holy war at work, there is such thing as discretion. But don’t be too fast to just concede the field. I’ve had Christian pastors tell me that other pastors shouldn’t be allowed to say the Name of Christ in their public prayer. Why? Well they don’t want to offend. The Gospel offends, Jesus told us it would, we are called to faithful, if that offends, well, there’s not a lot I can do about that, except to continue to faithfully serve the Lord of Life.
We meet on Wednesday’s 10am the Green Bean Coffee Co. corner of W King and Beaver Sts in downtown York, parking behind the church.